By now, you all know that my next release is “Treading Water,” a triathlon M/M romance. What you may not know is that I ventured forth to publish this one through Mugen Press. Or, indie. On my own. Because authors get no respect – but publishers do.
Writing the story to where I’d normally submit it is just half of the battle. The next steps involve getting a copy editor and paying for those services because, let’s face it, my production has exceeded the capacity and patience of my helpful friends. Cover art – that’s a pay-for project too, this time to my kind daughter, who’s doing a custom painted piece for every book in the series. Next – layout. That’s me and InDesign, and Pd Singer, who kindly answers my elementary questions via FB PMs.
By the time I have a book cover (a 3-page spread for print as well as a one-page version for e-books, including the blurb I wrote), I also have a PDF of the galley. But I couldn’t see the words anymore. They didn’t register. Had it said that Mothra and Godzilla were racing to the finish, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. Other writer friends were busy writing their own things and managing their own emergencies, so I resorted to a trick my other writer friend and fellow triathlete, Venona Keys, had taught me few years ago: read it backward.
I started on the last page and read backward, not really absorbing the text. Errata jumped off the page at me, and I wrote down their location and nature on a legal pad. It took me just a couple of hours, and opening my InDesign file and fussing with these changes will take another couple of hours. This is, mind you, not an inconvenience. It’s just part of the process. Every book is made that way, and this is why a publisher gets their cut of the action.
Then I realized I’ll need an ISBN. For the first time, I logged into my Bowker account and assigned a book to one of many ISBNs I’ve bought in bulk.
But wait! Once I fix up the galley, I’ll export the text back into Word, and run it through Jutoh to create nicer Mobi and ePub files. Same text for the same book. No ISBN’s, though – the sales portals either assign their own, or you make one up according to their specs. I know companies will try to sell us indies an ISBN for every version of the e-book, plus they sell the bar codes separately – and how dumb is that, when Amazon or B&N will generate the barcode on their own? You don’t need that. Save yourself the $300 or so and use on better cover art next time around.
Soon, in a few days, I’ll start sneaking the book onto the sales portals so it’s ready by the August 15th release date. Simultaneously, I’m writing two other books and editing an already finished piece. Writing ends when life ends. While I’m here on this soggy drivable, story ideas come up and clamor for my attention, and I’m thrilled to share them with you, my faithful reader.